Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: Anew: Awakened (Book 1) by Josie Litton

Anew: Book One: Awakened

Coming Soon - January 12, 2015

By Josie Litton

Reviewed by Sandra Long

5 Stars

In this erotic retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” set in the near future, a beautiful young woman awakens in the garden of a secluded palazzo with no knowledge of who she is or how she came to be there. For the man who walks out of the darkness to claim her, she is at once the ultimate challenge and the greatest temptation.

Haunted by terrifying memories of another existence, Amelia is caught between passionate desire for Ian and longing to discover her true self. Even as he is determined to possess her body and soul, Ian’s need to protect Amelia leads him into a confrontation with his tormented past. 

Together, they face the challenges that lie beyond the sanctuary of the palazzo in the glittering world city on the edge of cataclysmic change. In the midst of sensual excess that conceals seething rebellion, Amelia and Ian will discover that love has become the ultimate threat to survival.

This is a futuristic novel, and a very good one as it pertains to a hot topic even today--human cloning.  A very wealthy couple has a daughter named Susannah who has  a terminal illness. In an attempt to keep her alive, they have her cloned in order to harvest organs from her clone to save her. This clone was kept in a liquid artificial womb and stem cells or whatever was taken from her as needed over the years as she grew. Supposedly she was not conscious of any of this and would be an identical replica of Susannah in every way.

Susannah did grow up and she fell in love with a man named Ian, also a very wealthy man who was in the arms business in a very different world from the one we live in today. A caste system was in place and it was very strictly enforced and very difficult for anyone to go from a lower, working class grouping, into an upper caste. Cities and homes had armed guards to prevent intrusion from one class into the other with the exception of the "workers", who provided labor for the wealthy but never crossed them in any way and had to sign a secrecy pact never to divulge any information they may be privy to in their occupations. Cloning was very controversial, and illegal in some places, and their were militant groups whose focus was to destroy any clones they could find and any institution where cloning occurred.

Another off shoot of human cloning was "brain mapping", in which the brain patterns of the human were transmitted to the clones, supposedly making the brain function identical to the original as much as the physical body was, and the result was a clone known as a "replica".  Susannah had arranged to have this done with her clone and then a year later Susannah had died, leaving ownership of her "replica clone" to Ian.

The story begins as the replica, named Amelia after Susannah's imaginary childhood friend, is awakening at Ian's summer home. She has total amnesia at first and Ian must tell her about her past. She is very similar to Susannah but not identical as Susannah had some injuries as a child that changed the contours of her face. Her clone did not experience that, so the face is different. Amelia is very deeply attracted to Ian but her personality begins to evolve and she is very different from Susannah. She likes different foods, different music and where Susannah was very meek and submissive, Amelia is very opinionated and outspoken.

Ian and Amelia fall deeply in love and their sex life is hot and frequent. But they are both unsure if their love is actual love for each other or a direct result of the brain mapping that Susannah had done. Ian decides to give Amelia a chance to find out and notifies Susannah's brother and grandmother, who are her only surviving family, about the existence of the "clone" AKA Amelia. Susannah's brother immediately comes to claim her and take her home. Amelia thinks Ian wants rid of her so she willing goes with him and tries to establish a life as "cousin Amelia". She quickly learns that life in the real world is totally different from the life she has been living in Ian's compound since her awakening. There is extreme prejudice against clones and replicas and she must keep her real identity a secret or her life will be in danger.

The story evolves around Amelia's attempt to fit into a word that is totally new to her. Her only memories are occasional flashbacks to the time she spent in the artificial womb and the pain of the extractions over the years as Susannah needed stem cells from her body in order to survive. She does have an out standing intelligence and absorbs all the knowledge he can from internet and other sources, but the emotions are totally new to her and something she has to learn to deal with totally on her own. There are individuals and groups out to identify and kill all clones and replicas so she is always at risk. There are suitors who find her beautiful and are attracted to her as possible mates. There is always Ian in her thoughts and in her life and she cannot decide if he loves her or Susannah and she is only a substitute.

This is a very well written futuristic love story with drama and suspense to keep us interested from beginning to the end, which leaves us hoping for a sequel. Five stars for a very enjoyable read.

Josie Litton is the author of several NY Times and USA Today bestselling romances.

After taking time off to raise a family and get a master’s degree, she is delighted to be writing again. Inspired by the story of “Sleeping Beauty”, her new erotic romance, ANEW: Book One: Awakened will be published on January 12, 2015.

Married and living in Connecticut, she is the parent of two grown children. Becoming an empty nester has left her plenty of time to write, think about writing, plan what to write next, and read. When she isn’t doing that, she’s cooking, gardening, and traveling.